Pre-Super Bowl Roundtable
The final week of the 2016 NFL season is here. The fact you’re still looking at a fantasy football website in February proves you’re just as crazy about football as those of us here at TwoQBs. Moving forward through the off-season, we will ramp up our dynasty offerings and get you set up for 2017 redraft leagues. Before we turn the page on this season, though, we ran one last roundtable discussion, centered primarily around Super Bowl 51. Enjoy.
Who will have a better 2017 fantasy season — Tom Brady or Matt Ryan?
Joe Siniscalchi: Tom Brady. Matt Ryan is likely to regress after a career year and the loss of Kyle Shanahan will only aid that regression.
Anthony Amico: I’m going to go ahead and take the greatest QB of all time in this battle. He may turn 40 in August, but Brady posted amazing efficiency numbers in 2016 despite spending most of the year without Rob Gronkowski. Ryan is a prime regression candidate, with efficiency metrics well above his career averages.
TJ Calkins: Tom Brady and it’s not particularly close. Ryan losing Shanny will be the biggest coaching loss for any player in recent memory.
Josh Hornsby: If we’re incorporating more prior history than 2016, you have to say it’s Tom Brady.
Salvatore Stefanile: The Patriots’ quarterback has been productive at a high level for a much more consistent timeframe than Ryan. Dating back to 2002 and excluding his injured 2008 season, Brady has thrown no fewer than 23 passing touchdowns and his lowest fantasy output during that span was 215.10 points in 2003.
Ryan has thrown under 23 touchdowns three times since entering the league in 2008 and has failed to reach the 200-fantasy point marker twice in his nine seasons. Ryan may have the better pass catcher (Julio Jones), but Brady has shown he can put up points with anyone.
Joshua Lake: I am very close to calling Tom Brady hitting the age cliff, but I still think he outplays Matt Ryan in 2017.
Sean Fakete: Matt Ryan entered the league in 2008. Since 2008, Ryan has an average seasonal finish among quarterbacks of 13.6 by PPG and 11.1 by total points. Meanwhile, Tom Brady has average finishes of 6.5 and 7.1 in that same period. Brady has only once finished outside of the top-12 in PPG while Ryan has finished outside of the top-12 in four of his eight seasons. Touchdown Tom has finished higher than Matty Ice in PPG in seven of the last nine seasons. Ryan just had the best season of his career — an outlier — and scored only 0.2 PPG more than Brady. If I’m betting on who will finished higher in 2017, it’s an easy nod to Brady for me.
Greg Smith: I’m curious how different these answers would have looked if the question highlighted the next three seasons instead of only 2017. Alas, I’ll get in line with the other lemmings and pick Brady. When we all walk off the Brady-wins-and-retires cliff, tell our families we loved them.
How will the loss of Kyle Shanahan affect the Falcons’ offense next season?
TJ Calkins: Negatively, and likely not in moderate fashion.
Salvatore Stefanile: Shanahan has been the offensive co-ordinator for two seasons in Atlanta and we have seen the following fantasy results from their top playmakers:
2015 – QB19
2016 – QB2 (career high 347.46 fantasy points)
2015 – RB1 (PPR)
2016 – RB6 (standard), RB6 (PPR)
2016 – RB18 (standard), RB20 (PPR)
2015 – WR2 (standard), WR2 (PPR)
2016 – WR6 (standard), WR6 (PPR)
The one thing I will look for from their next coordinator is how involved he gets running backs in the passing game. Freeman and Coleman combined for 85 catches on 105 targets in 2016, while Freeman caught 73 of 97 targets in 2015. That’s PPR gold at the running back position, as evidenced by Freeman’s past two seasons.
Jones isn’t someone you have to worry a whole lot about, and while Ryan may not put up the type of numbers he did this season, he will most likely be a reliable fantasy producer next season at a clogged up position.
Josh Hornsby: Without knowing who will replace him, I think it’s too early to say with any certainty. Regardless, I don’t know how they will be able to repeat the scoring efficiency they enjoyed in 2016.
Joe Siniscalchi: Negatively, depending on the replacement. Unless the Falcons bring in a Chip Kelly, they are likely to all suffer. Aside from Julio Jones, the Atlanta pass catching group vastly overachieved in 2016.
Anthony Amico: It won’t affect things that much, but I’m sure Ryan’s natural regression will be attributed to the change in coordinator because #narrative.
Joshua Lake: Their new offensive coordinator will be an important piece for answering this question, but it has to hurt. Shanahan got so much out of his whole offense this year. Matt Ryan and the running backs could suffer.
Sean Fakete: Losing a coach who is widely regarded as a top offensive coordinator will have an impact, likely negative. I’m not sure the impact will be fully realized in their first season without Shanny, though, especially if he is replaced with an in-house promotion. I am concerned about regression for the Falcons offense regardless of Shannahan staying or going. Their quarterback just had a career year while posting a passing touchdown rate among the top-15 in NFL history (400+ attempts). That isn’t just great coaching, and it likely won’t be repeated.
Greg Smith: The Matt Ryan regression angle has been covered pretty extensively, and I agree with the sentiment. He can’t possibly duplicate this season’s production in 2017. His weapons, on the other hand, shouldn’t regress nearly as much. We know Julio Jones is a stud. In terms of talent, Devonta Freeman is right there too. With that said, if the usage split between Freeman and Tevin Coleman shifts drastically, one or both rushers could become frustrating to own in fantasy.
What event would you like to see added to the Pro Bowl skills competition?
Anthony Amico: We spend a lot of time judging the athletic skills of athletes, but the Pro Bowl seems like a great time to tune into their other talents. Why not add some arts and crafts!? The competition is to construct the best sign for Chip Kelly to use as a signal the following season. He hasn’t changed his offense in three years, so it doesn’t matter if everyone knows the play! Fun for the whole family.
Josh Hornsby: Ninja Warrior.
Joe Siniscalchi: QB Whack-A-Mole. Quarterbacks have to throw balls at targets as they pop up from various distances and areas of the field within a given time frame.
Joshua Lake: Competitive eating.
Sean Fakete: Two events: Lineman Foot Races and Tackling Dummy Fans. Both are exactly what they sound like. I want to see Vince Wilfork race anyone within 100 pounds of him, and I want to see fans volunteer to be tackled by Jadeveon Clowney.
Greg Smith: I want to see some good ol’ Three Flies Up. Take the best receivers and defensive backs in the business and let them battle for jump-balls. Maybe throw Jimmy Graham in there too because, if you haven’t heard, he used to play basketball!
TJ Calkins: Flip Cup.
Salvatore Stefanile: I’d like to see the Pro Bowl skills competition add dumpster fire toss. Trash cans are placed at each ten-yard hashmark and quarterbacks try to throw as many footballs into trashcans that are on fire in 60 seconds.
Tony Romo two-parter: Where do you want him to end up, and where do you believe he’ll end up?
Sean Fakete: I want him to end up as the Cowboys starting quarterback. In his last full season as the Cowboys starting quarterback, Romo played his best season ever with a ridiculous 7.8% touchdown rate. I think he still deserves another shot to win a Super Bowl with the franchise he helped bring back to relevance.
The Cowboys seem prepared to move on, however, and stick with Dak Prescott, who is no slouch himself. I believe Romo will end up in Houston. They are ready to win now and is really just missing a quarterback under 6 foot 7. They already (kind of) moved on from Osweiler during the season and are clearly not opposed to overpaying for a quarterback. Romo could also basically walk from his current house to Houston.
Joshua Lake: I’d love to see him take over in New York, to throw to Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall. I would not be dreadfully surprised to see Dallas keep him for another year, as a backup.
TJ Calkins: Cleveland/Denver.
Joe Siniscalchi: I want him to end up in Houston. It makes the most sense of all the teams that need a quarterback. Truthfully, I can see him remaining in Dallas if nobody wants to pony up a pick.
Greg Smith: I’m glad Lake didn’t steal my thunder in shaming Blake Bortles. I say ship Tony Romo to Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been a quarterback away for two straight seasons, Bortles clearly isn’t the answer, and Allen Robinson might be the closest proxy we have to Dez Bryant. A move to the Jags makes too much sense, though. Instead, I bet Tony lands with the Jets, a franchise known for leaning on aging passers in hopes of staying competitive.
Anthony Amico: I want to see him in Houston. The Texans have a tremendous defense, and would instantly be a top two team in the AFC if they had a Hall of Fame talent at quarterback. I’ve suggested that they should trade J.J. Watt for him, but am admittedly not cap savvy enough to know if that would work. It is much more likely that he ends up in somewhere like Denver, who clearly needed some better QB play this season.
Josh Hornsby: Dream destination – with Kyle Shanahan, Hue Jackson, Bruce Arians, or Adam Gase. Realistic destination – with his poker buddies at the country club, or the broadcast booth
Salvatore Stefanile: I wouldn’t mind if Romo just stayed in Dallas. We’ve seen how pathetic the Cowboys are when they don’t have a solid signal caller behind center, and Romo has been productive in that system in the past. If Dak were to go down, the Cowboys could keep on rolling, and fantasy players would feel comfortable throwing Romo into their starting lineups. However, it’s seem like a forgone conclusion the elder Cowboy will end up a Bronco and derail the Airman’s career before it ever got a chance to get going.
Editor’s Note: With no one directly predicting the Rams, Chiefs, 49ers, or Bears, “the field” is probably a safe bet.
Where is the best fit for Jimmy Garoppolo if he leaves New England? Will he crack the top-20 fantasy quarterbacks as a full-time starter in 2017?
Salvatore Stefanile: This is a good question and I’m not sure the right fit is anywhere but being coached by Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. Since McDaniels is sticking around in New England, Garoppolo would most likely have to start anew in whatever system he plays in next year if he were no longer a Patriot.
Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans make the most sense. If he were to land there, I believe Garoppolo would be a mid-range QB2 (let’s say QB15). The QB20 this season was Joe Flacco (243.12 fantasy points, 15.2 PPG). Prior to the Brock Osweiler experiment failing, the combo of Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, TJ Yates, and Brandon Weeden scored 263.24 fantasy points in 2015. Combined, that would have been the QB17 that season (QB12 in 2016).
TJ Calkins: Best fit? Toronto Argonauts. Top-20? I reserve the right to change calls due to positive landing spot, but no.
Joe Siniscalchi: Honestly? Cleveland or San Francisco. Both of those teams can part with a second-round pick and have QB-friendly coaches (assuming Shanahan goes to the 49ers). I can’t see him cracking the top 20, as he will surely still have growing pains as a full time starter. He’s only seen limited action so far, and both teams lack playmakers on offense.
Josh Hornsby: Best Fit – Houston. Top 20 – If he plays 16 games, it’ll be close.
Anthony Amico: Personally, I don’t think the Patriots will trade Garoppolo this off-season. If they do, I think the 49ers would be an awesome fit if Shanahan becomes their head coach. San Francisco is void of weapons right now, but are situated in the NFL Draft to add an instant game-changer like Corey Davis. I think that would be a nice match, and Garoppolo would definitely crack the top-20 next season with them.
Sean Fakete: If Brock Osweiler’s past season doesn’t scare teams away from signing quarterbacks based on a limited resume, I’m not sure anything will. The best fit is a location where he doesn’t need to be a star. Buffalo could be in the mix if they don’t re-sign Tyrod Taylor. The Bills have a great run game and don’t necessarily need a mobile quarterback to maintain their offense. I don’t see Garoppolo cracking the top-20 based on the potential destinations and his lack of experience.
Joshua Lake: A team needs to trade for him to get him in 2017. That makes the Browns seem likely, given their excess of draft picks. It’s also possible the 49ers make that move, but I doubt it, given how many holes they need to fill on that roster.
Greg Smith: Anywhere but the Niners, please. My favorite team isn’t going to turn it around because of Jimmy G, so I’d rather see them hold onto their draft picks and rebuild on the slow-and-steady plan. Ultimately, I think he’d fit best in Houston, a team ready to win right now. Garoppolo could easily turn in a top-20 fantasy season with Bill O’Brien and DeAndre Hopkins, but the Texans are likely too gun shy to chase another unproven quarterback after whiffing so badly on Osweiler.
Atlanta vs. New England (-3) — who you got and why?
TJ Calkins: New England. Whether you love or hate him, we get to see the GOAT play in his seventh Super Bowl, win his fifth ring, and get to look into Roger Goodell’s ugly soul as he takes the trophy.
Joe Siniscalchi: New England and it’s not even close. I have a feeling they will blow out the Falcons as their last obstacle to cementing Brady as the best player and Belichick as the best coach of all time.
Greg Smith: I could see this game going either way, and I believe the result will come down to which offense can better execute a ball-control game plan. We know both offenses are explosive, so the recipe for victory involves long disciplined drives, without settling for field goals. With that in mind, I’m taking the Patriots to win and cover.
In addition to their wealth of experience, New England has a distinct advantage on defense. They rank 16th in DVOA (11th weighted) vs. Atlanta’s 27th-ranked unit (22nd weighted). Meanwhile, the quality and diversity of New England’s offensive weapons give them a good shot to sustain those ball-control drives I’m looking for. The Falcons have similar tools on offense, but their red zone defense is drastically worse than New England’s, so stall-outs into field goals seem much more likely to dirty the Birds’ score sheet than Brady & Belichick’s.
Josh Hornsby: New England; however, I don’t believe they cover.
Joshua Lake: Atlanta +3. I think New England will struggle to stop the Falcons offense, and Atlanta will get enough pressure on Tom Brady to throw him off his game at times.
Sean Fakete: The viewers. In the Patriots’ seven Super Bowl appearances in the Brady-Belichick era, the margins of victory have been: 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, and 4. I think the Falcons keep this close, and their multi-faceted offense is too much for the Patriots to hold down for 60 minutes. I like the Falcons against the spread and outright.
Salvatore Stefanile: I think this game will be a Falcons blowout. As of this writing, the Falcons are three-point underdogs, but I think their offensive arsenal will be too much to handle and the Falcons come away with a two or more touchdown victory.
Anthony Amico: I got broads in Atlanta.